The Bishop of Portsmouth Doesn’t like Secularism

In a non-surprising statement from the Bishop of Portsmouth, Philip Egan, he claims that secularism is not a good basis for a society.

“Secularism is too fragile a basis for a free society…the Gospel alone can offer an authentic humanism able to transform human living,”

Because as we all know, Christianity has done so much for us in the past 2,000 years.

He begins, as you would expect, with a mischaracterization of secularism as

a deconstructed version of Christian morality” and “a form of post-Christian ethics that thrives because its values continue to derive their vitality from the Christian patrimony still embedded in British culture.”

Secularism indeed “has its own theological terms such as equality, diversity, freedom, respect, tolerance, non-discrimination, multiculturalism, social cohesion, ethnic communities, inclusivity, quality of life, sustainable development and environmentalism,” he stated.

“All these values are derived from fundamental Christian values. Thus, the secular concern for tolerance comes from the biblical ‘love of neighbor’ but, disconnected from Christian practice and belief,

He can’t see past his own belief system to understand that many of the values he espouses developed from the decline of theocracy in the 18th century with the Enlightment philosophers and became formalized in the 20th. indeed, the history of humanism can be traced back to Greek philosophy and Chinese Confucianism, before the development of Christianity.

In addition, the values of equality, freedom, tolerance,  non-discrimination, and others have been developed as a direct rejection  of religious enforcement of intolerance, discrimination, inequality, and serfdom.

He brings up the scourge of relativism:

Secular ethics, based in relativism rather than truth, gives rise to “the spectre of dictatorship” when values are divorced from truth and goodness, and thus “what has happened in the modern European context is that a loss of faith has dissolved the foundations of ethics.”

The opposite is actually true, with the most democratic countries also being the countries with the highest levels of secular values. Even in noted democracies such as the countries of Western Europe, Canada, the US, New Zealand, and Australia, it is the religious who seek to control the private lives of others.

“Shorn from its moorings, the law is thus increasingly adrift,” Bishop Egan lamented. “It expresses the will of the legislator, the will of the loudest and most powerful, the will of a policy unit or the will of the majority, and this relativism is State-enforced.”

As opposed to the law being at the will of the Pope as he would wish.

Secularism, he said, “is producing a society without foundations, one that develops randomly on the hoof through pressure-groups, legal precedent and political expediency.”

Indeed valid criticisms of modern society, but not something that is related to secularism as the religious are a major factor in nearly all aspects of political life. These pressure groups can include many industries and interests and usually include religious groups. Also, political expediency is much more likely to involve catering to the wishes of religious groups than secular groups. This catering to religious groups, whatever sect, denomination, or religion, nearly always involves legislating intolerance and attempts to force religious standards and mores on entire populations.

Despite the beliefs of Bishop Egan, it is only through diminishing the role of religion in government equality can be increased.


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